Tea Time: Leadership Position


Earl Grey,

I recently was lucky enough to gain a major leadership position at school.  I’ve been super excited about this responsibility – until it actually started.  It’s not that I don’t want the responsibility – in fact, I’d welcome a little more of it at this point.  I feel like I’ve been put on the sidelines, and I’m spending my time at meetings trying desperately to find something productive to do.  Is there any advice you can give?


Reverse Superman


Hi Reverse Superman,

First off, congratulations on getting the job! That’s a big deal, especially in high school. You should be really proud of yourself! One of the hardest things about being in a setting with adults when you are a student is that the power dynamic always seems a little weird. On one hand you’ve been selected by them to help out. But on the other, they are older, taller, and sometimes a bit scary.

It’s important to acknowledge that you are in a tricky position. As a student, you should realize that you are very lucky to get this job considering the probably demanding nature and pressure of it. Adults might read your urge to have more responsibility as being ungrateful when really you just want to help. But on the other hand, speaking up for yourself is a crucial skill that you need to learn as you grow up.

So what I would recommend is trying to find a balance between these two. I encourage you to ask if there is anything you can do to help, but make sure to read the room. Always be proactive and ask in advance, not in the moment, if you can perform a certain task. Try not to put them on the spot. And try to frame your request to show that you are trying to help by taking something off their plate.

But sometimes, even though it feels weird, it is okay to just sit back and watch. By watching, you are gaining valuable learning experience for next time, and also giving the adult space.

Also feel free to talk to the adult outside of the school function, this way there is less pressure, and you are showing initiative by seeking them out.

And if none of this works, remember this is just the first of many many job opportunities that you are going to have! If nothing else, use this as a learning experience, and you’ll be more prepared next time.

You’re doing a great job.

Keep up the good work,

Earl Grey